Kirsty Gray

The True Life of an Heir Hunter 

With the BBC television show ‘Heir Hunters’ regularly aired, the public feel that they have a much greater understanding of the process of tracing heirs when people die without leaving Wills. Is the show all hyped up for the media? Is the industry portrayed in a realistic way? Three genealogists from across the globe will grill the Managing Director of one of the leading probate and intestacy companies to discover the truth. What is it really like being an Heir Hunter? No holds barred – come along and find out!


Kirsty Gray has over 15 years research experience and has her foot in many genealogical doors around the world. Her first involvement in family history came at the tender age of seven years with her maternal grandfather’s tree in hand. Obsessed with her great-grandmother’s maiden name of Sillifant, Kirsty began a surname study on the name in 1999, publishing tri-annual journals on the surname for more than ten years. Founder member and Chair (now Secretary) of the Society for One-Place Studies, Kirsty has two places registered, on the Devon/Cornwall border and is considering another study of a hamlet in Cornwall. In November 2014, Kirsty founded The Surname Society with five other genealogists across the globe and the membership is already close to 500!

Kirsty took up genealogy professionally while training to be a teacher in 2002. Running Family Wise Limited, Kirsty and her worldwide team of researchers ‘find people and change lives’, conducting research for private individuals, solicitors, academics and companies worldwide. Family Wise Limited is also one of the leading intestacy research specialists (or ‘Heir Hunters’), resolving deceased estates, representing entitled beneficiaries and claiming back millions of pounds from the Government Legal Department.

As an author, Kirsty has written for many international publications on various topics for beginners to more advanced levels and her first book, Tracing Your West Country Ancestors, was published in March 2013 by Pen and Sword. A sought-after lecturer, her knowledge and her energetic and infectious personality wows audiences around the world with several ‘headline appearances’ in genealogy programmes across the globe.

Kirsty was awarded Superstar Genealogist (Gold Medallist) in the Rockstar Genealogist Awards 2015 and 2016 for the UK/Ireland and the Commonwealth by fellow family history professionals and was the first non-US genealogist to be in the Top Ten International list. She has recently appeared on Qui-Etes Vous? (Who Do You Think You Are?) in Canada, researching the English roots of the opera singer, Marc Hervieux  in 2016 and one of Kirsty’s success stories of 2015 featured on the second series of the BBC’s Family Finders in May 2016.